NORTH ADAMS — Though it sometimes feels we're forgotten out east, Western Massachusetts just gained another advocate in Boston.
North Adams City Councilor Lisa Blackmer was elected Saturday to a one-year term as president of the Massachusetts Municipal Association's board of directors. The vote occurred at the organization's annual meeting in Boston, where Blackmer became the first MMA president from North Adams.
As president, Blackmer will help the organization — which provides an umbrella for the state's cities and town's to come under together and advocate for municipal interests — shape its priorities and agenda for the coming year.
"The MMA has a big impact on issues that affects cities and towns across the commonwealth," Blackmer said. "My doing it brings Western Massachusetts and Berkshire County to the table."
The MMA is a nonprofit that advocates on behalf of policies and positions that benefit local government, according to Executive Director Geoff Beckwith. The organization advocates for local aid, school funding, Chapter 90 funds to repair roads and bridges, and local control and local decision making. It also helps out cities and towns by providing best practices, education, and workshops for local officials.
"We soup-to-nuts provide services to cities and towns and make sure they're informed," Beckwith said.
Issues important to the MMA in the upcoming year will include securing local aid and continuing to confront the opioid crisis in Massachusetts, according to Blackmer.
Prior to being elected president, Blackmer served as the board of directors' vice president in 2015. She was first elected to the North Adams City Council in 2007 and served as its president in 2015.
"We're just very happy to have her," Beckwith said. "She's provided great leadership for our organization and it's great that she's agreed to now step forward."
North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright said Blackmer has worked hard on behalf of the city for many years.
"Through this position she'll secure a lot of face-time with state leadership, so I think it's very very good for Lisa personally and professional but also for the city," Alcombright said.
Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.